Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Online grad school sucks.

On this idiot I'm in a group with...

As you might have read in my first post, I'm currently working on my Masters Degree in Systems Engineer at Stevens Institute of Technology. I'm doing the degree online, since I live in Mount Laurel, NJ, and SIT happens to be in Hoboken, NJ, which is a pretty damn far drive.

Anywho, much of the coursework is in groups. While I do have an individual assignment due each week (more of a discussion of the week's coursework), we have a team project, in which we need to come up with a need for a system, define the stakeholders, and do all applicable analysis, such as QFD Matrices, DPDs, etc. The team that I have is working out decently, however we have this guy Avinash in the group. He's obviously not from around here (actually, there are only two people in my group that are native English speakers, out of 5). I'm not sure if he's Pakistani, Afghan, Indian, or what, but the guy couldn't speak (err...type) english if his life depended on it. His posts on the discussion boards typically follow with this general format: reposting of the initial question, reposting of his previous posts, reposting of what someone else said, more reposting (in entirety) of his posts, and finally a sentence or two of rambling, jumbled english (or whatever you can call it).

Now, for two months, I've been very understanding of this guy's problems communicating. Unfortunately, over the past two weeks, his posts have become even more and more difficult to understand, just as we're getting to the hard part of the project. He doesn't make any damn sense in his posts, and we're working very hard as a team to keep our heads above water.

Today, we got a message from our instructor informing us that Avinash was no longer with our group, and that the four of us would need to finish the project, with no further input from him. Of course, I was very concerned. I graduated Magna Cum Laude at Drexel, and I damn sure want to do the same now. Of particular concern was that we (myself and the other group members) had pissed him off and he had decided to leave the group and give us a bad name with the instructor. Fortunately for us, I messaged the prof and was told that although she could not discuss Avinash's situation with us (confidentiality), we were not at fault and had done nothing wrong. We're to continue on and finish the project without him.

Let me tell you that this is a total load off my mind. While this guy seemed to know his shit early on in the course, he was becoming a liability as we progressed further and further. I mean, this isn't rocket science, but it's not underwater basketweaving either.

Anyway, on a personal note, I'd like to thank my buddy BigDaddy2x4 over at the Anti-Zombification League for linking me up to his blog. I hope to prove him proud...if I can remember to keep up with my posting!